There is loads of
positive energy and abundances of great songs, but director Phillida
Lloyd is far from able to knead this lackadaisical and dated plot into a
well-functioning film. The original stage format shines through a bit
too much. The good thing about this is that the film has an uplifting
and uniformly optimistic quality - and this shouldn't be underestimated.
But the negative effect unfortunately neutralizes the positives as
Lloyd's uncritical direction and overfocus on an annoying plot in which
we are asked to care for characters who are forced to appear stupid in
order not to reveal the long-winded, predictable and, to be honest,
unaccounted narrative twists.
Without Meryl Streep,
this film could have fallen completely flat, but the brilliantly
versatile 59-year-old's ability to turn every bit of material into
quality makes Mamma Mia! an enjoyable
film, despite its drawbacks. Of course, it is imperative to like the music of Abba in order to
be truly able to enjoy Mamma Mia!, but if you do, the musical
numbers - of which many are brilliantly performed (especially Streep's
rendition of "The Winner Takes It All") - should be able to do the trick.